I'm not who I was.
One evening I heard J giggling from her bathroom. “Mah-ahhhhm! Did you put this here?” “Yes.” *trying to compose herself enough to speak words I can understand and barely succeeding through her laughter* “Do I have to poo-poo and pee-pee enthusiastically and for the Lord?” *eruption of laughter*
I had posted a sign encouraging J not to dawdle because she has a tendency to daydream while getting ready. (Well, she has a tendency to daydream pretty much constantly, but it’s most troublesome when she is supposed to be getting ready). I had put the sign in her bathroom across from the toilet (because believe it or not that is one of her favorite get-lost-in-daydreaming places. She would not be embarrassed at my sharing this because she is still in the potty-talk-is-hilarious phase of childhood).
“Yeah, but the point here is to have a good attitude, stay focused, do your best & not carelessly keep people waiting.” (And by people, I primarily mean ME.)
But once the potty-talk ball is rolling, it’s hard to stop it. All teachability was lost at that point amidst hysterical mentions of things like “booty bottom” and other bodily functions. I, not yelling or angrily, but slightly abruptly (partly out of frustration and partly out of trying not to laugh myself) said something like, “You’re getting out of control. No more potty talk. The conversation is over.” And I walked out of the room. My train of thought had derailed.
I should have seen that coming.
I should have chosen a different verse…
… or a different location.
Later, however, I was convicted. Ok, I was actually convicted in the moment. But my brain was too muddled to think through what the appropriate response should have been, so I just walked away and prayed that God would give me the wisdom and opportunity to fix it later. Although I don’t believe that I ripped the verse entirely out of context, I became very aware that my motivations were flawed. What began as an interest in helping my daughter to mature (a good thing) became overshadowed by a primary interest in behavior modification over the heart of the matter. For one thing, behavior modification without a heart change is, in my opinion, about as effective as pouring your good clean baking soda into their sour vinegar to “clean it up” & shoving a plug down until later, there is a messy eruption. More essentially, I had muddled up the opportunity to point toward God rather than exalting self.
A few days later, at the risk of re-opening the potty-talk can of worms, I initiated a new conversation with J. “Do you remember a few days ago when you asked me about going potty for God?” *giggles* J: “yeeeesss…” Me: “Well, you should. You really should give glory to God in everything, even that. Do you remember what giving glory means?” J gave a sort-of-but-I’m-not-entirely-sure-if-I’m-right kind of answer… and she threw in a potty joke.
Me: “You know when you say ‘That is SO COOL!’ about something? You can’t stop saying good things about it because you are amazed and excited. You are giving glory to that thing or to the person who made that thing. It’s giving praise and sometimes worship. So when you observe something that God did and acknowledge, ‘That is SO COOL!’, that’s one way of giving Him glory. Even in things that seem little, or funny, or even gross, you can give Him glory. You can think, ‘Wow, that is so amazing how God created our bodies to get the wasteful things out of it. That was really creative and smart’ or ‘I’m so happy that you, God, chose these parents for me and this town to live in in this house with indoor plumbing where I can flush a toilet. Thank you for that and help me to understand how to help others who may not have as much’. Another way to give glory is by showing respect. When you respect God you obey him about his commands like obeying your parents and being considerate of others.”
You get the picture. We did have a little more potty conversation, but ultimately this conversation pointed to God. Then she continued it with the whole asking about random items thing.
So *still laughing* I should give my poop and pee to the Lord… should I give spit bubbles to the Lord? “Yes, even spit bubbles. It’s really neat how God designed surface tension so we can make spit bubbles.”
Coughing? Church? Even my eyeballs? “Yes, ESPECIALLY your eyeballs. You can give glory to God by choosing to look at nice things rather than bad things.”
Paper? Posters? Being still? “Definitely being still. God wants for us to rest sometimes.”
The list kept going on, and between the sillies she started coming up with good explanations on her own of how to give God glory in the the little things without my saying anything. I just got to listen to her ramble on. And this time, I wasn’t bothered by it. I soaked it in.
Lord, I enthusiastically give my mothering to you. The miracles of how you brought J and Cheeks into our family astounds me. You have designed them so wonderously! Help me to continually bring you glory through the gift that is my children.